What is Shroud of the Avatar?
September 30, 2013|Posted in: News
What is Shroud of the Avatar?
“Few know the tales of the dark times, much less what happened before them. Since the great Cataclysm 400 years ago the world has slowly recovered but much was lost. Now the Dire Prophecies are beginning to come true as the world is flooded with Otherworlders.” – Arabella
Journey to the world of Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues, a computer role playing game created by Lord British (aka Richard Garriott), creator of the genre defining Ultima series of computer games, Starr Long, director of Ultima Online, and Tracy Hickman, author of the Dragonlance series. It combines rich story, like those of the single player Ultimas, with deep and varied multiplayer experiences, like Ultima Online.
Players will adventure in an interactive world where their choices have consequences, ethical paradoxes give them pause, and they play a vital part in weaving their own story into the immersive world and lore surrounding them. Play options will include solo, friends only, or open multiplayer via the Selective Multiplayer system. Players can specialize in a wide range of combat and non-combat skills, provided by a robust, classless skill system, and full-featured crafting and housing mechanics.
Shroud is crowd funded and that allows the developers to work directly for, and with, the player, versus working for a large publishing corporation. Shroud is also crowd sourced so players can submit Unity compatible content (art, sfx, music, world building, etc). Once submitted content is approved the submitter can choose to be compensated in real or virtual currency.
Built using the Unity Game Engine, Shroud of the Avatar will support Win/Mac/Linux for official launch at the end of 2014. Backers gain early access at the end of 2013.
- Full length, 40+ hour story-driven main quest line, in the same spirit as the deep stories told in the original Ultima series. Backstory prequel novel by acclaimed author Tracy Hickman.
- Persistent, single map/shard open online world that will cater to your play-style: Play alone, with friends only, or be dynamically matched up with friends and strangers for an MMO-like experience. Don’t want to connect online? Play it as a stand-alone single player offline RPG.
- Selective multiplayer feature will benefit both the PVP and non-PVP community by allowing you to link with players of similar play-style.
- Classless skill system with a full line of innovative combat and magic skill trees to explore. A large step away from “level grinding.”
- A heavy emphasis on player crafting, utilizing logical crafting “recipes.” Create furniture, armor, weapons, potions, meals, artwork and more, and sell them through your vendor or the local bazaar.
- Housing system with a wide variety of unique housing types and an easy-to-use decoration system allowing for customized decoration of your abode. Housing is valuable and limited and your home will be visible to every online player on the persistent map.
- Guild system allowing for customizable ranks, PVP/war flags, guild housing, guild tabbards/flags, and more.
- Open-ended NPC conversation system – type what you want to say in normal speech, and the NPCs will respond in kind.
- Forsaken Virtues is the first full length stand-alone game of a 5-part series. Each “episode” will have a story to tell within the Shroud of the Avatar arc, and will expand the online map size. Episodes are planned for yearly release.
Crowdfunding & Crowdsourcing Perks
- Shroud of the Avatar was successfully funded via Kickstarter in April 2013. Funds continue to be raised, and every dollar goes into adding more features for the players. This fundraising is necessary to produce a rich game without the need for a big publisher.
- Early backers receive many exclusive rewards, including unique titles, items, pets, and housing. Pledge now for early alpha and beta access, and receive the full game at launch for less than retail price.
- Take part in development discussions with Lord British and the team via the forums, chat room and video hangouts. Your ideas can have a direct influence on the game.
- Join concept art lead Stephen Daniele (and other wonderful SotA artists) weekly on the Pen of the Avatar broadcast. Player suggestions are often worked into the concepts.
- Many opportunities to submit your own content to be featured in the game, with compensation if they are used.
- The SotA team will be giving back to the Unity community by putting up many SotA game assets in the Unity store. Development tier backers will receive some Unity content for free.
Stretch Goals Achieved (great new features that have been added thanks to the backers!):
New map & story content:
- Starting continent doubled in size
- 20 additional unique scenes including arctic scene sets
- New “Mysterious Island” content, city, scenes
- Meteorites, eruptions, outbreaks of rare plants & animals will appear and disappear
- The Lost Vale – a new mini-adventure centered around a lost valley only visible during special astronomical alignments
- Massive, interconnected underworld with its own ecology and story
- Ports with boats that will take players to areas beyond the mainland
Other game features:
- Seasonal weather
- Interactive musical instruments
- Addition of “Taming” skill
- David “Iolo” Watson music composition
- City center theater building with a feature-rich system for renting and staging performances
- Full guild support with guild housing, PVP/war features, guild tabbards, shields, etc.
- Castles & keeps a new “town type” ownable by players with castle defense scenarios, unique merchants, and a minimum of 5 castle types
Extras outside the game:
- Serialized prequel novel by Tracy Hickman
- Spoony will interview (roast?) Richard Garriott
Interested? Here’s how you can join the fun!
Whether you are interested in joining in the development process, want to reserve a housing plot, or simply want to pre-order the game for less than retail (and gain access to alpha/beta), there is a pledge amount that fits your needs.
Ready to pledge? Simply head over to the Shroud of the Avatar website and chose your pledge level.
Want to learn more before committing? There is a wealth of information on this fansite, on the Shroud site, and the forums. The community would love to say hi and help answer your questions, so don’t hesitate to drop in!
- Shroud of the Avatar FAQ Page
- Shroud of the Avatar Forums
- Portalarium’s Official Youtube Channel
- Screenshots & Concept Art Galleries
- Kickstarter Funding Page
- Pledge Rewards Spreadsheet (Maintained by Koldar)